Public Health

Salt: “supertasters” and how obesity impacts sensitivity

New research from food scientists at Pennsylvania State University suggest that some people’s penchant for salt may be due to a broader hypersensitivity to taste. The researchers suggest that “supertasters” not only experience the taste of salt more intensely, but other flavors as well — meaning that they often rely on extra salt to …

Obesity’s impact on sexual health

Though they tend to have sex less frequently than their slimmer peers, obese women may be four times more likely to have an unwanted pregnancy, according to findings published in BMJ this week. In a study of more than 12,000 French men and women between the ages of 18 to 69, researchers found that obese women were less likely than …

Childhood obesity: moms’ work schedule a factor?

New research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology and highlighted by Reuters suggests that the increasing prevalence of moms holding down full-time jobs may be a contributing factor in the childhood obesity epidemic. In an effort to determine what factors may be driving childhood obesity, researchers from University College …

Doctors should ask patients about texting-while-driving

Doctors should talk to patients about the risks of distracted driving, just as they discuss the dangers of smoking and unprotected sex, writes Dr. Amy N. Ship, an internist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in the June 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. As more states pass laws banning talking on a cell phone or …

WHO: Pharma ties didn’t impact swine flu decisions

In response to an investigation published last week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) which pointed to affiliations between World Health Organization (WHO) advisers and pharmaceutical companies manufacturing H1N1 flu vaccines, WHO inspector general Margaret Chan said that industry ties had no impact on the global health agency’s …

Infection control lapses at outpatient surgery centers

Infection control is often inconsistent and ill-enforced at outpatient surgical centers, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the study, researchers examined the results of inspections of 68 different ambulatory surgical centers in three different U.S. states between …

In India, payment program reduces infant deaths

A novel program in India that pays impoverished women to give birth in medical institutions may be reducing infant mortality and the risk of stillbirth, according to new research published last week in the British medical journal The Lancet.

In this latest study, which was sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers …

BMJ: WHO swine flu advisers had drug company ties

Almost exactly one year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the swine flu outbreak had reached global pandemic proportions. The announcement, made on June 11, 2009, spurred governments to order huge stocks of vaccines and prompted broad public health initiatives around the globe. And while we can all be grateful that …

McDonald’s recalls 12 million Shrek glasses

Together with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fast food giant McDonald’s announced the recall of roughly 12 million Shrek-themed glasses today after discovering that the designs printed on the glasses contained the harmful metal cadmium. Out of what it called “an abundance of caution,” in a statement issued today McDonald’s …

Study: fatal medication mistakes surge in July

A new study from researchers at the University of California at San Diego and Los Angeles suggests that a sharp uptick in fatal medication mistakes in July corresponds with the entry of thousands of trainee doctors into medical residency programs across the U.S.

Surviving a heart attack can depend on your neighbors

A new study from researchers at the University of Michigan suggests that where you live — and whether neighbors willing to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) rush to your aid — can have a significant impact on whether or not you survive a heart attack. The findings, published in the June issue of the Annals of Internal …

Dengue fever appears in the Florida Keys

More than one-third of the world’s population lives in an area at risk for transmission of dengue fever, but the Florida Keys haven’t traditionally been among them.

Federal health officials report, however, that 28 residents and visitors to Key West, Fla., were infected with dengue fever between July 2009 and April 2010 — the …

Abortion ad sparks controversy in the U.K.

Marie Stopes International, a sexual health group akin to the U.S.’s Planned Parenthood that provides abortions and other services at clinics throughout the U.K., has purchased a time slot for a 30-second commercial scheduled to air Monday night, the Telegraph reports. The ad — which does not mention the word abortion, but directs …

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